June 18, 1984 Yankees 2, Tigers 1 (47-17)
The knuckleball specialist, and eventual 300 game winner, shut down the Tigers to break their three game winning streak. On a sub-.500 team (I know this is hard to believe, but the Yankees had a mediocre stretch in the mid to late 1980s), Phil Niekro improved to 10-3 by throwing 8 2/3 innings of three hit ball. The only Tiger who crossed the plate was Kirk Gibson (who actually got two of the three hits), who hit a first inning solo shot.
Phil Niekro had an impressive career. From 1977 through 1979, he threw no less then 330 innings in each season, something that would be unheard of in this day. He also led the league in hits allowed and runs given up as well. The Hall of Fame pitcher never won a Cy Young, but finished in the top six on six different occasions. In 1967, he led the league with a 1.87 ERA by throwing 207 innings in 46 games (20 starts, 26 relief appearances). He’s 14th all time in wins (has Clemens passed him yet?) with 318, fourth in games started at 716, and fourth all time in innings pitched with 5,404 1/3. The three guys ahead of him in innings pitched all threw before 1927.
And today, he got the best of the Tigers. Milt Wilcox threw seven quality innings of seven hit ball, but it wasn’t enough. 40,000+ fans came out to see the Tigers on a Monday night.